Eastern Province, Zambia
37,323,329 tons over 10 years
Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Program (ZIFL-P)
The BioCarbon Fund – Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL)
Eastern Province Jurisdictional Sustainable Landscape Program (EP-JSLP), Zambia
About the Project
The Eastern Province Jurisdictional Sustainable Landscape Program (EP-JSLP) is a results-based program that is being developed for the BioCarbon Fund, aimed at reducing emissions from the land sector, while simultaneously improving rural livelihoods. The program area encompasses just over 5 million hectares of land, located in Zambia’s Eastern Province. Roughly 80% of the Eastern Province’s population lives in rural areas and depend on agriculture and forest resources for their livelihoods. However, unsustainable agricultural practices and natural resource extraction has led to widespread forest degradation, resulting in significant carbon emissions.
In the Eastern Province, the main sources of emissions result from:
- forest loss from agricultural expansion,
- deforestation and degradation due to fuel wood use and charcoal production,
- forest degradation due to fires, and
- loss of soil carbon due to poor agricultural practices.
The EP-JSLP’s primary beneficiaries are poor rural communities who are locked into a cycle of poverty due to a dependence on unsustainable agricultural practices and the depletion of natural resources. Key project activities include:
- implementing Climate Smart Agriculture that will increase productivity, thus reducing pressures on forests and building soil carbon,
- implementation of fuel-efficient cookstoves, which is designed to cause reductions in fuel wood needs for household cooking,
- promotion of sustainable charcoal production, reducing wood needs,
- implementing sustainable forest management, which centers around expansion of community forestry and additional resources, and
- strengthening protected area and wildlife management.
With the support of our project partners, the implementation of these activities will effectively address the drivers, agents and underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation in the Eastern Province, reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also improving the livelihoods of the rural population.
Many communities in Zambia’s Eastern Province are locked into a cycle of poverty and resource degradation. As unsustainable agricultural practices degrade the land, decreasing agricultural productivity, smallholder farmers are forced to expand their farms, further degrading the landscape and diminishing natural resources. Additionally, as the population of Zambia continues to grow, now at 2.9% per annum, the prevalence and severity of these issues are expected to increase. The World Bank indicates that the Eastern Province is one of Zambia’s three poorest provinces, with roughly 70% of the population being classified as below the poverty line. For this reason, the EP-JSLP aims to improve agricultural production in a sustainable manner, in order to provide greater employment opportunities and generate long-term economic returns for local communities. The implementation of fuel-efficient cookstoves will also provide a number of benefits to communities, while decreasing the need for forests for fuelwood and charcoal production. Additionally, involving community members in natural resource management and forest protection activities will provide the resources and training necessary to ensure long-term sustainable management of forests and protected areas, led by the communities themselves.
As unsustainable natural resource extraction accelerates, degraded landscapes pose a particular threat to local biodiversity. The Project Area contains globally significant biodiversity, particularly within the Lukusuzi National Park. The park is home to roughly 2,000 vascular plant species, 112 mammal species, 370 bird species, 47 reptile species, 34 amphibian species and 31 fish species. Although this park is protected, limited financial resources as well as illegal hunting and deforestation around the park’s perimeter threaten the biodiversity of the park. The project aims to support the government in forest protection and the communities adjacent to the park, in order to relieve pressures driving deforestation and unsustainable natural resource use thus preserving the area’s biodiversity.
This program supports payment-for-performance of emission reductions across the Eastern Provence bringing sustainable development to Zambia. The primary objective of the EP-JSLP is to mitigate emissions by promoting interventions that prevent deforestation, forest degradation and unsustainable agricultural practices. Given that these are the primary contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in Zambia, the implementation of such practices will result in significant emission reductions, helping the country meet its Nationally Determined Contribution obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Additionally, as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations continue to increase, temperatures are expected to rise, causing record heatwaves and irregular precipitation patterns. These changes in the climate pose a particular threat to local farmers of the Eastern Provence, who depend on rainfed annual agriculture to feed their families and provide a source of income. For this reason, the EP-JSLP is dedicated to helping entities across the Eastern Province adapt to more sustainable agricultural practices and natural resource management in light of these challenges, in order to reduce carbon emissions and improve the climate resilience of agricultural production systems, ensuring long term success of the project.